The race for Kentucky's next Commissioner of Agriculture is getting a lot of attention, but not the kind candidate Bob Farmer would want.
Tuesday morning Farmer's opponent, Representative James Comer released video clips of Farmer on YouTube. The clips show Farmer performing a standup comedy routine that makes fun of people from eastern Kentucky.
On his website Farmer promotes himself as a seasoned speaker and entertainer with a long history of satisfied audiences, but one performance is rubbing many the wrong way. "They don't move their lips when they talk," Farmer says on stage in the video, "Really, it's like a training camp for ventriloquists. 'Hi, how you doin'? Fine, how you doin'? alright.'"
Comer says he realizes the remarks were meant as jokes, but he says it's no laughing matter. "I think if someone from eastern Kentucky wanted to say something, it might be different, but Bob Farmer's from Louisville," Comer said.
"I'm from Louisville," Farmer says in the video, "That's the big city. My wife is from eastern Kentucky. Oh it's all together different over there. I'd never been over there... They didn't trust me. You know, I had shoes on. I got all my teeth."
Farmer declined our request for an interview, but his campaign emailed us the following statement: "I sincerely apologize if my comments offended any of my fellow Kentuckians. Over the years I have spoken across the country to groups and shared my love for our Commonwealth and its people and hope that people see these comments as an attempt at humor not an insult."
But statements in the performance are drawing outrage from some.
"Do you know how come the FBI won't do any work down in this county?" Farmer asks in the routine, "'cause all the DNA is alike, and there ain't no dental records."
"It was an offensive statement," Comer said, "and I can't tell you how many people I've heard from from eastern Kentucky: legislators, senators, representatives, county judges, business people, farmers, who are offended by that, and they say this guy is not a credible candidate."
Nonetheless, Comer says he'll be taking Farmer seriously as the campaign continues.
Comer says his campaign plans to release additional videos featuring his opponent between now and the election.